We all love the feeling of leaving the salon with perfect nails, but I’m sure we all equally hate the feeling of watching the lacquer crack and fade after only a few days. If you are loaded and have loads of time on (and for) your hands, then no probs, head to the salon and let a professional manicurist deal with your nails. If on the other hand you can’t afford regular, bi-weekly trips to the nail salon, then maybe it’s time to, ahem, polish up on manicures.
How do I remove polish?
Before giving yourself a manicure, you have to get rid of the last one. If you have used an ordinary nail varnish, then we be kind to your nails and use an acetone-free remover (Active make a great and very affordable acetone-free polish remover). For gel or shellac, you might need a harsher acetone remover. We’ve found that CND’s Shellac Removal Wipes are very effective.
One of our coolest new products is the Saffron Nail Varnish Dip, Twist and Clean, which is super quick and easy. Simply dip your finger into the sponge-lined tub, twist it around, and pull out your perfectly clean nail.
I’ve picked my polish - do I just go ahead and apply it?
No! First you have to prepare those nails. Now that you have removed all the remnants of old varnish, you need to get your nails into shape. Take a nail file and round off your nails - including the underside of your nail. Try and file in one direction: it will give a better finish. Next, buff those nails, using short strokes in one direction. You may also want to use cuticle oil to soften and moisturize before pushing your cuticles down. Finally, apply a base coat to smooth out the surface of your nail and even out the colour. We recommend CND Sticky - a super-adhesive base coat that helps the polish take and prevents chipping.
So I slap on polish and that’s it?
If you are in a rush, you might be accustomed to slathering on a thick coat of polish in one brush stroke. If so, you’ll probably be used to very mixed results and you might not even save yourself any time: one thick coat can take longer to dry than two or three thin ones.
What is the best way to apply the polish?
The first step is to prep the brush. Wipe it on the side of the bottle so that the paint is pushed towards the tip on only one side of the brush.
When it comes to actually applying it, make sure to rest your hand on a flat surface, or pinch each finger and thumb. Use more than one stroke per nail. Most manicurists use three or more strokes. One neat tip is to apply a strip down the middle, then another two on either side, leaving a crescent moon-shaped space around the cuticle (we discuss cuticle technique in the FAQ below).
Use at least two thin coats, giving each coat around two minutes to dry. Finally apply a top coat. We have a range of top coats to choose from - whether you choose matt, super shiny, uv-inhibiting, or normal really depends on your needs and the look you want. Many might skip the topcoat, as they can take ages to dry, but they will keep your manicure beautiful for longer, saving you time in the long run.
Help - I never know what to do with the cuticle area?
Here is where a lot of people go wrong: they either avoid the area completely, or paint directly over their cuticles in the hope nobody will notice. In your initial application, leave a thin crescent between your cuticle and the rest of your nail, then fan the brush out, pushing the polish towards the cuticle, leaving only a hair’s-breadth. If you do make a mess, you can always use a cotton tip dipped in varnish-remover to clean your cuticles.
When can I get on with my life?
Largely it depends on the products you have used and whether they are fast-drying or not. Be warned, though, nails can seem dry within 20 minutes, when it can actually take them closer to a fully day to dry. It might be a good idea to apply your polish in the morning, after your shower (certainly not vice versa - hot water and steam will ruin your hard work). Climbing into bed with wet nail polish will ruin your nails and your bedsheets.
What’s the best way to store nail polish?
Always store bottles of nail polish upright. Storing nail polish sideway can lead to the lacquer seeping into the lid and sticking it shut.
What About False Nails?
False nails are a great alternative to polish, if you know what you are doing. In particular, we love wild animal’s false nails as they come in really intricate, fun designs.
The prep process is largely the same. As you would if you were applying polish, make sure your nails are super clean. Clip them right down - you don’t want your real nails sticking out. Buff them - almost like sanding wood to make the paint stick, a rough surface will aid the glue. Push your cuticles back. Put a wee drop of glue on both the fake nail and your real nail. Put the nail right down to your cuticles and keep it pressed for ten seconds, making sure there are no airbubbles and that the fake nail is straight. Remember that you only have one shot per fake nail. If the glue hardens and it’s not stuck to your nail, chuck it out.
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Hints and Tips
Wash, But Don't Moisturise
You may feel tempted to salve dry nails with hand lotion, post-varnish removal, but don’t. If you are about to apply a new round of polish, having wet, or moisturised nails will ruin any attempt. Your varnish may even peel off in one big chunk. What a waste of time! On the other hand (actually on both hands), you want to ensure that your hands are clean: oily nails will stop the polish from sticking.
If you can’t spare the time, afford the salon, or are worried that your attempts at nail care will lead to disaster, why not try Technic’s nail foil wraps? These revolutionary, self-adhesive wraps give you instant results. Simply clean your nails and stick them on. No need to mess around with glue. They can last up to two week and they look fabulous.
Store Nail Polish in the Fridge
An average bottle of nail polish will only really be good for a couple of years. About a year - two max. You can still use an old bottle, but it’s likely that the solvents will have evaporated leaving the polish gloopy. It also won’t take to your nail as well. You can add to a bottle’s shelf life if you store it in the fridge. Just don’t drink it by mistake!
Easy Nail Art
The internet, Pinterest in particular, is full of pictures of incredible nail art. While some of the most intricate designs might take hours, you can achieve a surprising amount with very little effort. We sell a number of pens - everything from glitter to neon that you can use to very easily create cool designs. If you make a mistake, no problem - we also sell a NPW NailArt Correction Pen!
Get a marbled nail colour using a plastic bag
First polish your nail with whatever colour you like. Now to add a second colour in a marble effect, paint a scrunched up plastic bag with the second nail polish and then roll the bag over your nails. Voila!
Use Striping Tape to make cool art deco nails
Super simple and effective. Take a strip of self-adhesive striping tape, trim it to fit your nail and apply.